There has been a growing sense of frustration in this country over the rising cost of health care, and this problem has recently been compounded by our ailing economy as Americans are losing their jobs and struggling to make ends meet. I know there are many families in Oklahoma who currently do not have health insurance- making one sick child a potential family crisis. I host 50 town halls a year across the Third Congressional District, and when the topic of health care comes up, people consistently tell me they are happy with their doctor, their coverage, and their hospital, but are concerned about the cost and the accessibility, especially in more rural areas.
In a country as advanced as the United States, we should be able to provide quality health care coverage that is affordable and accessible to every American while preserving patients’ rights to select their own doctors, their own health care coverage, and their own courses of treatment. However, a government run health care system, like the one currently being drafted by congressional Democrats, will not provide this.
The system they are discussing will use a “public option”- one that is similar to the systems used in Canada or France. And while those systems might do a good job of meeting routine needs for their citizens, like taking their blood pressure or providing vaccines, they ration treatment for more severe problems creating a backlog of patients waiting for treatments. For that reason, you have Canadians traveling in to the United States to pay out of their pockets for expensive treatments, like MRIs, because they can’t afford to wait to receive them.
Under the proposed “public option” plan, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama will take our health care system, a system that is the most effective, efficient, and innovative in the world, and turn it inside out. While there are issues within our system that need to be addressed, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Right now, this country is running a deficit of over $11 trillion, and that number is expected to continue to climb once President Obama’s appropriations packages are passed in Congress. So, in order to pay for this estimated $1 trillion plan, they will dramatically increase taxes on all Americans, including those who are already struggling to pay for their own health care, as well as struggling to put dinner on the table.
Simply put, this is not good policy. We need to refocus our efforts to make changes in our health care system that are efficient and cost-effective, while continuing to ensure that patients come first, that the doctor-patient relationship is not disrupted by bureaucrats in Washington, and that health care treatments are never rationed out by government officials.
Frank Lucas represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. For more Frankly Speakings, please visit Rep. Lucas’ Blog at http://www.house.gov/lucas/frankly-speaking/index.shtml.